Powderpuff (Mimosa strigillosa)

Try these alternatives to common invasive species

Some of the plants that are common to our home landscapes are actually invasive species, many of which are now widespread in Florida’s natural areas. Removing these species from your landscape and replacing them with native alternatives can help prevent the spread of invasive species and will provide suitable food and cover for native wildlife. We suggest some “alter-natives” for your landscape.

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Common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) on purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum) by Mary Keim

Know your native pollinators: Bumble bees

Bumble bees are very efficient pollinators because they “buzz pollinate.” The bee grabs onto a flower and vibrates its flight muscles but not its wings. This causes the flower to release its pollen. It also creates an audible buzz at the frequency of a middle C note. The genus name Bombus comes from the Greek bombos, which means “buzzing sound.”

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Know your native pollinators: Cuckoo bees

Cuckoo bees are often mistaken for wasps because their body shape resembles a wasp, and they are nearly hairless. They also lack the pollen baskets that most bees have on their legs because they do not collect pollen for their young.

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Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium sp.) along I-75 near San Antonio. Photo by Jeff Norcini

Bloom Report: Early spring brings the blues

A warmer than normal spring is not what many Floridians want to hear as that implies an early start to summer weather. For some relief, think cool, and the cool color of blue spring wildflowers. And by blue, think true blue.

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Welcome Baker’s tickseed

by Claudia Larsen Follow this new species’ journey from discovery to naming Recently discovered in North Florida’s Jackson County, Coreopsis bakeri has gone undetected for years because of its resemblance to our common lanceleaf tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata). Several years of scientific study finally proved that, indeed, it is has been isolated long enough to have…

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Eastern carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) on Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) by Mary Keim

Know your native pollinators: Carpenter bees

Many Floridians become familiar with carpenter bees by accident. They may notice a hole that appears to have been drilled into unpainted wood around their homes with a sawdust pile beneath it. Or they might hear a buzzing sound coming from within the hole. Both are telltale signs of carpenter bees.

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Upcoming events

Nov. 16 Field trip to Heartwood Preserve
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Heartwood Preserve 4100 Starkey Boulevard Trinity, FL 34655

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Dr. Walter Taylor

Dr. Walter Taylor presents at the 2014 Florida Wildflower Symposium.